Technology-enabled professional learning in remote rural minority language classrooms

Rachel Shanks, Christina Walker, Do Coyle, Education in the North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Participation in professional learning is a challenge for teachers in small remote rural schools, particularly those who teach in a minority language. Multiple factors isolate Gaelic Medium education teachers and make professional learning more difficult to participate in: remote rural location; language; pedagogical approaches; school size; and technological infrastructure. To address this challenge, we piloted the development of a professional community, across four widely distributed Gaelic Medium education primary schools, using the LOCIT approach (Learning-Oriented Critical Incident Technique) which is a form of technology-enabled professional learning. Based on identifying and analysing learning moments to trigger deep discussion, reflection and action by teachers and pupils, the study involved over 150 pupils and their eight teachers as researchers. Class-based inquiry was used to collect video evidence of ‘successful practice’. Teachers then documented how they and their pupils identified learning moments from the video recordings. Individually and collectively the teachers reflected on their professional practice. The LOCIT repository provided both a resource and profile of evidence-based practice. Research data for this paper consists of audio-recorded semi-structured interviews with four of the participating teachers. The interviews were analysed by the researchers through an inductive coding process. We found that the use of the LOCIT approach was able to overcome the challenges identified in relation to the development of professional learning in remote rural areas but there were still challenges in this type of remote learning. These findings highlight that remote rural and linguistic minorities can create professional learning opportunities together if identified challenges are overcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-135
Number of pages18
JournalEducation in the North
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Remote rural
  • professional learning
  • Gaelic Medium education
  • digital technology
  • learning moments

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